Grace Ibuna: I’m on top of Ignacio’s funeral | Inquirer News
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Grace Ibuna: I’m on top of Ignacio’s funeral

Businesswoman Grace Ibuna, a longtime partner of the late Negros Occidental Representative Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo, said she and one of the daughters’ of the late congressman, Bernardina Arroyo-Tantoco, would take charge of the funeral arrangements for him.

Ibuna, in a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, denied a television report that Arroyo’s estranged wife, Aleli, would also be involved in taking charge of the funeral arrangements.

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The body of Arroyo, the brother of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, is scheduled to arrive on Emirates Flight No. EK 344 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) 1 at around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, airport officials said.

In her text message on Monday, Ibuna said she and Arroyo-Tantoco would  take charge of the funeral arrangements.

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“It is not her (Aleli),” Ibuna said.

She also denied reports that the congressman’s burial flag would be turned over to Aleli. “No way!” she said.

This is contrary to the agreement reached by Aleli, Grace and Arroyo-Tantoco on February 21 on the arrangement for Iggy’s wake and funeral.

On February 20, a London court granted Ibuna and Arroyo-Tantoco custody of the lawmaker’s remains despite Aleli’s protests.

Following the London court order, the lawyers of Aleli, Ibuna and Arroyo-Tantoco met on February 21 and reached an agreement on the arrangements for Iggy’s wake and funeral.

According to the agreement, Iggy’s body will be brought from the airport to Arlington Funeral Homes.

Iggy’s wake will start on March 1 at the ancestral house of the Arroyos’ at No. 14 Badjao St., La Vista subdivision in Quezon City.

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On March 3, Iggy’s body will be brought to the conjugal house, three houses away, at No. 17 Badjao St., where Aleli said she and Iggy had lived for 10 years.

On the morning of March 5, Iggy’s body will be brought to the House of Representatives for a necrological service. At 4 p.m., he will be flown to Bacolod City.

A three-day wake has been scheduled in his hometown of Kabankalan, Negros Occidental. His body will be brought back to Manila for a funeral Mass and burial at Manila’s North Cemetery on March 9.

But Aleli believes that she and no one else will receive the burial flag at his funeral a week from now.

“Of course, because she is the legal wife,” Aleli’s lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, instantly replied when asked if her client will receive the customary burial flag from the government.

This was disclosed in a status hearing in a Quezon City court Tuesday on the compromise agreement between Aleli and Ibuna.

Arroyo’s death on January 26 in London due to a liver ailment has set off a legal battle for the custody of his body both in courts in the United Kingdom and the Philippines.

But with a compromise between the two women on the funeral arrangements, both parties agreed to jointly ask for the dismissal of the case filed by Aleli in a Quezon City court.

Judge Eleuterio Bathan of Regional Trial Court Branch 92 told the parties that he will wait for the final compromise agreement before he will act on the appeal to dismiss the case.

A visibly pleased Aleli spoke with reporters after the hearing and expressed her gratitude that her husband, though long estranged, will be finally able to come home.

“I thank the Lord … My daughter is happy that finally her father will be able to come home. I am very happy that we didn’t have to go through a full-blown trial and restraining order,” she said.

The hearing on Monday morning was meant to update the court on the status of the agreement, which includes the funeral schedule for the late congressman. With a report from Inquirer Research

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